Criticism of Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema
First of all, I want to say that I think this is a brilliant article. Its influence and importance are highly significant. However, I do have some reservations about it in its appropriation of Lacanian psychoanalysis to further its claims of the cinema being a tool that furthers patriarchy. Within the article, there is the implication that the gaze of the camera itself represents patriarchy. This claim holds more weight when one is to observe a film made from the era of classic Hollywood, as the usage of camera positions tends to convey a dominantly male sense of subjectivity. However, we have now become so accustomed to the cinematic aperatus that the aperatus itself has become the subject in which the viewer's identification rests within. In Lacanian terms, this perspective of the camera is not inherantly male, but instead represents the perspective of the the symbolic world. It is the physical manifestation of the religious illusion (Debord, Society of the Spectacle), a perspective from God's eye. There is nothing inherantly gendered about the perspective of the camera, which is the perspective that the viewer is to dominantly identify with. This of course is not to imply that the camera is objective or apart from ideology: the world of camera reality is the realization and actualization of every last referential, the final triumph of the capitalist system over lived reality.
Mulvey deals with this problematic at the end of her article, mentioning the possibility for the transformation of the cinema into its "materiality in time and space" with the establishment of an alternative cinema. But today, even for non-alternative cinemas, the camera is where the viewers primary identification resides within. So much so, in fact, that the camera has become a character onto itself. This relationship is not inherantly gendered, even while a film text will further the conventions and attitudes of patriarchy through its content.